Source | LinkedIn : By Oscar Fuchs
How do you make the most of the telephone interview? Here is a quick list of pointers for both interviewers and interviewees to keep in mind, particularly when speaking internationally. I’ve written this for the benefit of HR Leaders, but these tips can be applied universally.
1. First things first: speak clearly.
The most obvious point first: make sure you can be understood. This is particularly important when speaking with someone whose native language isn’t the same as yours, but it can be equally significant when speaking the same language. Phone lines can still be temperamental, there might be background noises that are off-putting, and it’s just that much harder on the phone to be sure that your message is getting through in the way you intended. If you speak slowly and clearly, you minimise the risk of being misunderstood.
2. If you didn’t hear something, don’t wing it.
It’s very tempting not to disturb the natural flow of a conversation, but when you didn’t hear something properly, it’s quite dangerous to try and guess what was said. It is always safer to politely ask the other person to repeat the last thing they mentioned, or to confirm whether you heard it correctly. This avoids the confusion and potential resulting irritation of answering a different question to that which was asked. In HR interviews, this can often be ‘make or break,’ because smooth communication and comprehension skills are, of course, critical to the success of an HR Leader.
3. Be succinct.
There is nothing worse than being on the end of the phone line with the other person droning on, not allowing you the chance to speak. In a face-to-face meeting, it’s much easier to read the visual signals that you’re losing the interest of the other person. It is of course more difficult to judge this over the phone. If in doubt, keep your sentences shorter and allow pauses so that the other person has a chance to interject when necessary.
4. ‘Ask permission’ to go into more detail about specific points.
Sometimes being succinct is just not enough, and you might feel it necessary to go into more detail in order to properly convey a point, or to illustrate your involvement in one project or another. The best way to do this is to first answer the question in a short and direct manner. Afterwards, ask the listener for their permission to go into more detail, using a phrase such as “Actually I can explain that in more depth, if that would be useful?” This will allow the person on the other side of the phone conversation to let you continue, with their expectations managed that they will need to listen for a little longer. Alternatively, it gives them the chance to reply by saying “No that’s OK, I’d rather move on to something else.” Using this strategy, you minimise the risk of boring the other person about a topic that they feel is not pertinent to the interview.